Wisconsin is known for its cheese, and you really can’t think of California without imagining its charming beach towns. But trust us: There’s so much more to learn about your state and the 49 others in the good ol’ U.S.A. For instance, do you know in which state the shopping cart was invented? Or where exactly the cheeseburger was officially named? How about which state has a building with its own zip code or which one is home to the “Pumpkin Capital of the World?”
In a country as large and diverse as the United States, there’s really no limit to the new things that you can learn about the 50 states every day — which is why we’ve rounded up some of the weirdest and most random facts for each state right here. Whether you’re looking to stump your friends and family with random trivia facts or just want to learn a few new things about America, these weirdest, wackiest facts about your state — which include fun info about native animals to random facts about food — will truly amaze you. And for more fun tidbits about the U.S. afterwards, be sure to check out the weirdest town names and the craziest laws in each state, too!
Though the boll weevil is often considered a tiny pest, it’s praised in a 50-pound statue in the city of Enterprise. It dates back to 1919, when the statue of the Greek woman was constructed. Thirty years later, they placed the weevil on top. The purpose? To show the town’s “profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity.”
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Due to its long summer days, produce in Alaska can often reach jaw-dropping sizes — like a 138-pound cabbage that was grown in the great state (this photo isn’t the cabbage in question, but you get the idea).
Love watching planes land and take off? Get on board the PHX Sky Train. Located at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the trains cross over an active airport taxiway. It’s the first system in the world to do this!
Believe it or not, you can potentially take home a priceless souvenir from your day at Crater of Diamonds State Park. It’s the only diamond mine in the world that allows the public to hunt for such a precious gem.
You’ll experience highs and lows in this great state. At 14,494 feet in height, Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the contiguous United States. It’s a mere 76 miles away from Death Valley, known as the lowest point in the contiguous United States.
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Cheeseburgers may not have been invented in Colorado (two other states contest this!), but the name “cheeseburger” was indeed trademarked by Louis Ballast of Denver’s Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver in 1935. In 1987, a roadside monument was dedicated to this accomplishment.
Chances are, you already know Connecticut’s state song by heart: It’s Yankee Doodle! The famous tune was designated as the official state song in 1978 at the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford (which you can see pictured here).
Apparently, chickens outnumber people 200-to-1 in Delaware, with the state having more than 200 million chickens every year. This makes sense given that Delaware is not only the second smallest state (ahead of Rhode Island), it’s also the sixth least populous state in the U.S. (it is, however, the sixth most densely populated!).
Brevard County in Florida officially adopted the area code 321 in 1999 as a nod to Kennedy Space Center — and the rocket launch countdown sequence that happened there!
The state was once home to the largest wild hog, which was discovered in the town of Alapaha. At 1,000 pounds and 12 feet in length, it was appropriately nicknamed “Hogzilla.” We can only imagine that it looked like a much, much bigger version of this more petite wild boar in Hungary, but you get the idea!
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If Spam has never ended up in your grocery cart, you might wonder who regularly stocks up on the canned meat. The answer? Hawaii residents. More Spam is eaten in Hawaii than in any other state. In fact, it’s even served as breakfast at McDonald’s!
Here’s a geography fact you might not have known: It’s possible to sail from the Pacific Ocean to Idaho through the Snake and Columbia Rivers, which will take you to the farthest inland port on the West Coast, called Lewiston.
The town of Morton is the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.” It’s mainly due to the presence of the Libby’s canning plant that cans more than 82% of canned pumpkin in the world.
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The Indiana Dunes (located on the shore of Lake Michigan) is a habitat for all sorts of interesting plants, including over 20 varieties of orchids. The largest dune is named Mount Baldy, and moves a few feet from the shore each year.
This state might be known for corn as far as the eye can see, but it’s also a place where you can find your center. Fairfield, Iowa, is considered the capital of Transcendental Meditation. The town is home to Maharishi University, which was founded in 1974 by Maharishi Maheh Yogi, who was famously the former spiritual adviser to The Beatles.
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Fast food history was made in 1958 when the world’s first Pizza Hut was opened in Wichita. It was opened by brothers Dan and Frank Carney, who were still college students and had to borrow $600 from their mother!
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Cheers to Kentucky! In 1799, the first commercial winery in the United States was established near Lexington. And yes, you can still enjoy wine produced by the winery (now named “First Vineyard.”) It’s even maintained by a descendant of the original shareholders of the winery.
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway bridge in New Orleans, Louisiana is the longest continuous bridge passing over water. It’s nearly 24 miles long (and for eight of those miles, you can’t even see any land at all).
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Think of a city in Maine and you’ll probably automatically think of Portland, the state’s most populous city. Here, it’s easy to find a place where you can get away from it all, since more than one-third of Maine’s total population lives in the Greater Portland area (which also makes it the most populous metropolitan area in northern New England!).
The first Ouija board was invented in Baltimore by Elijah Bond, who proudly selected its design for his tombstone. Apparently, when Bond asked the board what it wanted to be called, it spelled out “O-U-I-J-A.”
They take sandwiches pretty seriously in this New England state. In 2006, a contract dispute regarding whether or not a Qdoba Mexican Grill burrito could qualify as a sandwich went to trial (really). The ruling? Burritos are not sandwiches — only foods made with two pieces of bread with a filling (meat, cheese, or both) can carry that name.
“Superman” ice cream is the unofficial ice cream flavor of Michigan. If you haven’t tried it, it’s an insanely-colorful treat with red, blue and yellow swirls and can differ in taste from ice cream shop to ice cream shop!
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Don’t let the fact that it’s in the Midwest fool you. The Land of 10,000 Lakes actually has more shoreline (90,000 miles total) than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.
Though we can’t imagine shoes being sold in any other way, the practice of selling shoes in pairs apparently began in 1884 at Phil Gilbert’s Shoe Parlor in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
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St. Louis hosted the 1904 Olympics, which was widely considered to be one of the weirdest ones ever held. Only 12 countries attended and the games lasted over five months. The oddest event was the marathon. One runner was chased out of the marathon by a pack of dogs, while the “winner” hitched a ride on a car for most of the race. Then there was competitor Felix Carvajal de Soto, who actually stopped during the marathon to take a nap — and still managed to come in fourth!
Pets in Montana enjoy the highest average lifespan, according to a 2013 report from Banfield Pet Hospital. Cats live two years longer than the national average (which is 12 years), and dogs live a year and a half more than the national average (11 years).
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Football is a big deal in the Cornhusker State! Memorial Stadium at the University of Nebraska becomes the state’s third largest city during football games (it has a sell-out capacity of nearly 92,000).
The World’s Largest Margarita was made in Nevada, taking over 300 hours and 60 people to make the 8,500-gallon behemoth. It was fittingly made at the Margaritaville Casino in Las Vegas. The two-story beverage was named “Lucky Rita.” We could definitely use a margarita of that size right now.
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Spending the summer in New Hampshire has been a thing since 1768 — at least in the town of Wolfeboro, which is known as the oldest summer resort in America.
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New Jersey loves its horses! The state has more horses per square mile than any of the other 49 states, which is probably why the United States Equestrian Team is based in Gladstone, New Jersey.
If you plan on driving through the state known as the Land of Enchantment, make sure your car has plenty of gas and maybe four-wheel drive. We recommend this because 3/4 of the state’s roads are either dirt or caliche (sedimentary rock).
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The Empire State Building is a familiar sight (even to those who have only seen it on screens or photos), but you might not know that the landmark building actually has its own zip code (10118).
Fayetteville, North Carolina bears the distinction of being the place where Babe Ruth hit his first home run as a pro. Another fun fact: It’s also where the iconic baseball player reportedly earned the famous moniker “Babe.”
Love french fries? You should head to the annual Potato Bowl USA in Grand Forks, which holds the world’s largest french fry feed. Last year in 2019, more than 5,000 pounds of fries were consumed by an estimated 7,500 people. The all-time record was in 2017 with over 8,000 pounds of fries!
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Technically, Ohio wasn’t officially granted statehood until 1953, when Dwight D. Eisenhower backdated Ohio’s entrance to the union. The lesson? Always remember to keep up with your own paperwork.
Next time you use a cart at the grocery store, thank Oklahoma. Shopping carts were invented in 1937 by the owner of the Piggy Wiggly supermarket chain, who thought of the “folding basket carrier” as a way for customers to carry their groceries.
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You can find the only leprechaun colony west of Ireland in a two-square-foot park in Portland called Mill Ends Park, which is also known as the smallest park in the world (it consists of only one tree!). Founded in 1948 by WWII veteran Dick Fagan, it’s considered home to many “invisible leprechauns.”
The state dog is the Great Dane, in honor of state founder William Penn’s cherished pet. But that’s not necessarily the remarkable part. The real story here is when this choice for state dog went up for a vote in 1965, legislators literally barked and growled to voice their approval (yes, really).
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The White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island has been a popular spot to grab an ale since 1673, making it the oldest tavern in America. At nearly 350 years old, the restaurant is still up and running today!
Monkeys have an entire island to themselves on Morgan Island, where the monkey population has climbed to over 4,000. (Originating from a primate research facility in Puerto Rico in 1979, the population started at a few hundred.) Unfortunately, you can’t visit. The only humans allowed on the island are the researchers responsible for tagging and studying the rhesus macaques (which look similar to this little one pictured here, who lives in India).
South Dakota may be known for Mount Rushmore, but it’s also soon to be home to another — and even bigger — mountain monument. The Crazy Horse Memorial has been under construction since 1948, and though it’s still far from completion today, you can see a plaster replica of what the finished design will look like.
President James K. Polk and his wife, Sarah, were buried at the State Capitol after their thought-to-be-final resting place (Polk Place) was sold to a developer by their heirs. Their remains were moved to the capitol grounds mainly because no one knew where else to put them.
King Ranch Texas is one very, very big ranch. It’s set on 825,000 acres of land, making it even larger than the state of Rhode Island! Here’s a peek at what life was like on the ranch in 1965.
People really, really love Jell-O in Utah. We’re not entirely sure why, but Utah residents consume more of the wiggly snack per capita than anywhere else in America!
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You won’t be able to spot any billboards in Vermont, as these big advertising sings are banned in the Green Mountain State. Instead, the state favors smaller signs (with many regulations) that preserve the state’s scenic beauty.
You won’t have to choose between doing homework and riding a roller coaster in Virginia, where the state’s academic calendar is in part determined by amusement parks. Since 1986, public schools in the state have been prohibited from opening before Labor Day.
You might know Seattle for its popular ferry boat rides, but the entire state of Washington actually operates the largest ferry system in the United States. In fact, over 21 ferries carry nearly 24 million passengers every year!
The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs is known for its glamour, but it’s also where you can tour the (former) secret bunker for Congress, which was built during the height of the Cold War. Located 720 feet beneath the resort, it remained a secret from its opening in 1961 up until 1992, when the Washington Post spilled the beans on the secret location.
Bratwurst is taken very seriously in this state. The “World’s Largest Brat Fest” takes place in Madison every Memorial Day weekend, and Sheboygan has the honor of being the “Bratwurst Capitol of the World.”
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The Cowboy State loves its stairs and elevators. Escalators? Not so much. In the entire state of Wyoming, there are only two escalators, both located in the city of Casper, though no one is exactly sure of the reason behind the strange rarity.
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